At age sixteen, Mink Jollè still hasn’t discovered his Elemental affinity, which is an identity crisis unheard of on the planet Georra. He has endured constant bullying while being held back in school, and his parents have come to employ drastic measures to help him mature. Their current ruse is a camping trip on Rift Ridge, where they test Mink to the breaking point, to no avail.
Meanwhile, Mink and his parents run across a Machinist scout searching out a mother lode of ore, who finds more than he bargains for. An immense geode buried deep in the ground is fabled to be the Tear of God, and the first nation to claim it will hold power and protection unrivaled on Georra.
The race is on as Mink’s parents stand guard at the Tear of God, sending Mink back to his homeland for help. Defying the odds and surprising himself, Mink succeeds in delivering the news to his people, and is chosen to assist a Team in returning to the site to relieve his parents and acquire the Tear of God for Octernal. Along the way, Mink is forced to rely on his strengths without an Element in order to win respect and ultimately discover his true identity.
Raymond has enjoyed writing from an early age. He lives in Coastal North Carolina with his wife and two daughters. His character driven stories reflect the diversity of the places he has lived and the jobs he has had, focusing on animals and film.
One of the challenges in starting the book at this particular stage of Mink's life was trying to balance out the extreme measures of the current testing by interjecting as much history of the typical, and more acceptable, methods Elementalists used to determine the Elemental affinity of their children.
I further like this excerpt because it underlines the lack of choice in a very subtle way. Everyone on this planet is born into an Element. They can only accept it and grow within that Element. In Mink's case, the more than decade-long search for his affinity has left him essentially at odds with the fabric of existence.
Tear of God – Elements
He longed for the days when his parents tested him by training him on the basic chants of each Element. Nothing ever happened, but it was easier than this. It was beyond him to even decide which Element he would rather be. He disliked them all equally.